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Dear Evan Hansen (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Pasek & Paul This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Dear Evan Hansen: the up-and-coming Broadway musical about an anxious teen trying to find his place in the world whilst dealing with the aftermath of a fellow student’s suicide. With music from the famed duo, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and vocal talents including Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss, this musical does a good job of addressing tough issues such as mental illness, teen suicide, and the influence of social media. It’s no wonder the rock musical is expected to dominate at the approaching Tony awards.
Comparable to fellow musical Next to Normal, Dear Evan Hansen has music that almost anyone can relate to. “Waving Through a Window” manages to perfectly describe what it’s like living with social anxiety, whilst “Requiem” gives you a solid, emotional punch to the gut as you sympathize with a frustrated Zoe Murphy. Lighthearted, upbeat tunes such as “If I Could Tell Her” and “Sincerely, Me” bring a smile to your face, but “So Big/So Small” and “Words Fail” will surely make you sob. Of course, nothing quite compares to the touching anthem of “You Will be Found,” stating that you aren’t alone, even if you feel you are.
Though I’ve only had the pleasure of listening to the cast recording, I have found that the album in no way dims the overall spirit presented in the musical. Ben Platt, who plays the titular character, has managed to convey a wide range of emotions for the anxiety-ridden teenager with just voice alone. Rachel Bay Jones captures the essence of parenthood in one song, and Laura Dreyfuss had me convinced that she was a distraught sister instead of a 28-year-old actress. And, of course, we can’t forget the raw power the entire cast presented in ensemble songs such as “Disappear” or “You Will be Found.” I was in tears by the time the album finished playing.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “musical theater person,” this show is worth investigating. The morals and issues presented are ones seldom found in the throng of today’s pop culture, and surely won’t be forgotten anytime soon. There’s no doubt that Dear Evan Hansen will remain as a musical ensign for generations to come.

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